The Teaser Loan Race Is Not Yet Over

The regulator does not like them. The consumers cannot seem to have enough of them. Yes I am talking of the teaser rate home loans that have become so popular in 2009. Whilst most of the banks had withdrawn these schemes in the first quarter of this year, India’s largest bank State Bank of India doggedly kept the scheme on (albeit with increased rates from its earlier scheme). Given the universal expectation that interest rates are bound to go up this year, the customers found the safety of fixed rates even if only for a limited period quite attractive relative to a regular floating rate product. This consumer preference has forced market leader HDFC to come out with its own teaser rate loan scheme and ICICI bank has also joined the party this week. The teaser schemes, Bank of Rajasthan and LIC Housing Finance always had the scheme on and their schemes are continuing. As of now the teaser rate loan schemes of HDFC, ICICI and SBI are scheduled to apply only for sanctions till April 30, 2010. The partial disbursement should be latest by June 30, 2010 in case of HDFC and ICICI. However it is expected that the schemes will be extended at least till the end of this quarter.

Let’s take a quick look at some of these schemes and their salient features for a loan of Rs. 30 lacs for 20 years:

Table below is for Loan amount of Rs. 30 Lacs and a tenure of 20 Years

Sr. No.

Bank Name

Reference Rates

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

4th Year onwards

Effective Interest Rates*

Regular Floating rate products


Bank of Rajasthan

BPLR – 15%




BPLR minus 5.75% = 9.25%


Data Not Available



RPLR – 13.75%

8.25% **


RPLR minus 4.75% = 9%

RPLR minus 4.75% = 9%


RPLR minus 5%=8.75%



FRR – 12.75%



FRR minus 3.75% =9%

FRR minus 3.75% =9%


FRR minus 4% = 8.75%


LIC HF (Fix o Floaty)

PLR – 12.50%




PLR minus 2.75% =9.75%


PLR minus 2.75% = 9.75%#


SBI-Easy Home Loan

SBAR – 11.75%




SBAR minus 1.75% =10%


Data Not available

* Effective Interest Rates are calculated assuming reference rates remain constant
** Available till March 31, 2011. Effective Interest rate worked out assuming disbursement on June 30, 2010
# LIC HF offers floating rate at 8.75%p.a. for the next 3 months and thereafter 9.75%p.a.

So how should a consumer decide on which schemes to go for?

Firstly if you are in the market for a new home loan, it is advisable to choose from one of the above teaser rate schemes (versus a regular floating rate product from them or other lenders) since it will give you the safety of low fixed rates during the next few years during which interest rates are likely to rise. Between them also the real difference will arise once the fixed rate period is over and the time comes for the floating rates to take over. At that time how accurately the lenders reference rates reflect the changes in the market interest rates will determine what the actual effective cost is for the consumer. (See article on how lenders do not pass on benefit of lower interest rates to their existing loan consumers in the DNA of February 13, 2010) . It is here that the public sector banks have a relatively better record. The Mohanty committee set up to suggest changes to make credit pricing more transparent found that whilst the BPLR of all banks moved up when RBI increased Repo rate the BPLR of public sector banks were impacted (lowered) more significantly than their private or foreign sector counterparts when RBI dropped Repo rates.

In any case this is an area with developing implications as the new Base Rate system scheduled to be operational in the second half of 2010 should improve the transparency on fixation of reference rates for floating rate loans.

However the biggest opportunity is for existing home loan borrowers who are in a regular floating rate loan. Chances are that you are already paying a fairly stiff rate (probably in excess of 9.50%) compared to what is available for new loan consumers today. Get rid of your inertia and shift now to a teaser rate loan and do it now. This is a small window of opportunity, which may not remain open for too long